Peppermint Frosted Chocolate Cookies

Let’s dress up my favorite chocolate cookie dough and make these peppermint frosted chocolate cookies. You’ll love these Christmas cookies because they’re fudge-like and rich with extra soft centers and chewy edges. The peppermint frosting is velvet smooth and a pleasant crunch from crushed candy canes makes a festive finishing touch!

chocolate peppermint Christmas cookies with peppermint frosting

This recipe is part of my annual Christmas cookie countdown called Sally’s Cookie Palooza. Every year since 2013, I work on a handful of new Christmas cookie recipes and publish the 10 best ones for readers to enjoy! You can browse dozens of recipes on the Sally’s Cookie Palooza page.


Tell Me About These Peppermint Frosted Chocolate Cookies

  • Flavor: If you love the combination of mint and chocolate, don’t miss out on this cookie recipe. We use peppermint extract in both the cookie dough and frosting, an ingredient I always prefer over regular mint extract (which can sometimes taste like toothpaste). A careful ratio of unsweetened cocoa powder, flour, and butter gives us fudgy cookies that border the line of homemade brownies. These are pretty much brownie cookies without the need for melted chocolate in the dough.
  • Texture: Soft-baked, thick, and chewy. All good stuff!
  • Ease & Time: This is a basic chocolate cookie dough without any specialty ingredients. Most of the ingredients are repeated in the frosting, too. Cocoa powder makes this cookie dough extra sticky, so chilling the cookie dough is imperative. Set aside 3 hours to chill or you can prepare the dough the night before to get a jumpstart on cookie baking the next day.

thick peppermint chocolate cookies broken in half and stacked

Your Go-To Chocolate Cookie Recipe

If you’ve made a few of my chocolate cookie recipes before, this dough will look familiar. The reason I hardly stray from it is because this cookie recipe works and I don’t find testing alternate versions necessary. The soft cookies are in-your-face chocolate, so it’s my gold standard chocolate dough. We use it for:

Notes: I use a few extra grams of cocoa powder in today’s dough which brings the amount up to 2/3 cup– this works like a charm. The chocolate crinkle cookies can over-spread as a result of the sugar coating, so I leave out the milk in that version.

If you’re looking for cookie cutter style chocolate cookies, here are my chocolate sugar cookies.

chocolate peppermint cookie dough in glass bowl

Success Tips for Peppermint Frosted Chocolate Cookies

  • Chilling the dough: Make the cookie dough using the printable recipe below. Cocoa powder is a very light, fine powder so it doesn’t bulk up cookie dough like all-purpose flour. (It’s also very drying.) As a result, this chocolate cookie dough is sticky. It’s sticky & soft before chilling it in the refrigerator and even though it’s still a bit sticky after chilling, it’s much easier to handle. Chilling dough also guarantees thicker cookies. See my 10 Tips to Prevent Cookies from Spreading.
  • Portioning the dough: Each dough ball should be a heaping Tablespoon, so use a cookie scoop or Tablespoon measure to scoop the dough. Give the cookies a light roll in your hands and have a kitchen towel or paper towel nearby. I usually wipe my hands clean after every few cookie dough balls because clean hands make rolling easier.
  • Baking tip: Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes. If the cookies aren’t really spreading by minute 9, remove them from the oven and lightly bang the baking sheet on the counter 2-3x. This helps initiate that spread. Return to the oven for a couple more minutes.

chocolate cookie dough balls on baking sheet lined with Silpat

chocolate peppermint cookies arranged on wire cooling rack

As the cookies cool, make your frosting.

Peppermint Frosting

The creamy frosting on top is essentially vanilla buttercream with the addition of peppermint extract. I’ve never paired this chocolate cookie dough with buttercream before and even though it sounds like an obvious match, I wasn’t expecting it to be *this* good. The cookies are pretty rich, so they don’t need a heavy pile of frosting. The buttercream recipe makes just enough for a simple swipe of frosting on each cookie. Feel free to pipe it on top, but I just use a knife or small icing spatula.

To garnish the cookies, you can use:

  • Crushed Candy Canes
  • Chopped Andes Mints
  • Sprinkles
  • Mini Chocolate Chips

peppermint frosting in bowl and spread on chocolate cookies

peppermint frosted chocolate cookies on red plate

Sally's Cookie Palooza

This recipe is part of my annual Christmas cookie countdown called Sally’s Cookie Palooza. Every year since 2013, I publish 10 new cookie recipes in a row. It’s the biggest, most delicious event of the year! Browse dozens of Christmas cookie recipes over on the Sally’s Cookie Palooza page including:

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thick peppermint chocolate cookies broken in half and stacked

Peppermint Frosted Chocolate Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours (includes cooling)
  • Yield: 24 cookies
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These peppermint frosted chocolate cookies combine a rich and fudgy chocolate cookie with smooth and creamy peppermint frosting. The dough requires 3 hours of chilling in the refrigerator, so make sure you set aside enough time.


Ingredients

Cookies

  • 1/2 cup (115gunsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100ggranulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 cup (125gall-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 2/3 cup (55g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk (any kind, dairy or non)
  • 1 cup (180g) mini or regular semi-sweet chocolate chips

Peppermint Buttercream & Topping

  • 1/2 cup (115gunsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 and 1/4 cups (270g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream, half-and-half, or whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, or more to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/3 cup (50g) crushed candy canes (about 34 large candy canes)

Instructions

  1. Make the cookies: In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together on medium high speed until fluffy and light in color. On high speed, beat in the egg, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together until combined. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly pour into the wet ingredients. Beat on low until combined. The cookie dough will be quite thick. Switch to high speed and beat in the milk, then the chocolate chips. The cookie dough will be sticky. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Chilling is mandatory for this sticky cookie dough.
  3. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. If the cookie dough chilled longer than 3 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. This makes the chilled cookie dough easier to scoop and roll.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  5. Scoop and roll dough, 1 heaping Tablespoon of dough each, into balls. Arrange 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheets. The cookie dough is sticky, so don’t be afraid to wipe hands clean after every few balls of dough you shape.
  6. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes or until the edges appear set and the centers still look soft. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. The cookies will slightly deflate as they cool. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
  7. Make the buttercream: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream/milk, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to medium-high speed and beat for 2 full minutes. Taste. Beat in a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. I usually add a little less than 1/8 teaspoon. And, if desired, beat in another drop of peppermint extract.
  8. Frost the cookies: Top each cookie with frosting. Garnish frosting with crushed candy canes. Frosting doesn’t dry completely, but will set after several hours. Carefully stacking frosted cookies is fine after that.
  9. Cover and store cookies at room temperature for up to 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (step 2). Baked cookies with or without frosting freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, and then bring to room temperature before enjoying. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
  2. Larger Batch: The recipe is easy to double in 1 mixing bowl without overwhelming your mixer. Simply double all of the cookie dough and frosting ingredients. Dough chill time remains the same.
  3. Natural Cocoa Powder: Do you know the difference between natural cocoa powder and dutch-process cocoa powder? Use natural in this dough.

Keywords: peppermint frosted chocolate cookies

44 Comments

  1. Natalie Munroe says:

    Hi Sally,
    These are sure to be delish- I’ve been making your double chocolate salted caramel cookies for years and they’re *always* a fan favorite!

    Question: I make and gift cookies for Christmas each year. I tend to shy away from including frosted ones because I worry the buttercream won’t hold up when packed. (And I mean that 2-fold— 1. Bc it’s soft and fluffy so it might melt a bit in transit & smear all over wrapping or other cookies, and 2. Bc of the lack of refrigeration with the cream in it.) But I’m wondering if maybe I’m limiting myself too much. Does the buttercream sort of set enough to package them? Is the small amount of cream in the buttercream not enough to be super dangerous if left unrefrigerated?
    Thanks for your help and expertise!

    1. Hi Natalie! I’m typically the same way. However, most buttercreams (if applied lightly) set after a few hours. This frosting doesn’t dry completely, but the top layer will set so you can carefully place in a treat bag without ruining the frosting. Carefully stacking frosted cookies would also work. Just give the frosting a light tap to see if it’s dry on top before doing so. Leaving at room temperature is a personal call– when applied lightly, this frosting is fine for a day out of the refrigerator.

      1. Natalie Munroe says:

        Thanks for the tips!!

    2. Another thing to consider is will that peppermint permeate any other cookies that are packed together. See’s Candy never packs their peppermints in a mixed box for the other candy can pickup the flavor. Cookies may be the same.

  2. Marilyn Puchaty says:

    Hi Sally, Will this chocolate cookie base work for kisses cookies too (instead of a peanut butter cookie base)? I’ll be using white chocolate peppermint kisses. Thank you! Merry Christmas!

    1. Absolutely! I recommend keeping the dough ball size at a scant 1 Tablespoon. Bake time will be pretty much the same.

  3. Hi Sally! Is it possible to substitute a dairy free milk for the buttercream?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Marian! You could, the frosting may just not be as creamy.

  4. My mom is going to love these soo much for a christmas gift!! I have enough butter for the cookies but is there a sub. for the frosting?
    Thank you.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Klailea! You could dip them in white chocolate instead like we do with our peppermint mocha cookies 🙂

  5. Hi Sally,
    Made these today. Followed directions exactly using weight for measurements. Flavor is good but cookies are flat as a pancake. Pictures look like they are puffier,thicker. What did I do wrong?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sue! Here’s our post with tips to help keep cookies from spreading next time – hope it helps 🙂

    2. I had the same problem. Glad to hear I’m not alone!

    3. TERRY CHRONISTER says:

      Sue, I refrigerated the dough overnight, then rolled the balls and put back in the fridge for an hour on the cookie tray I used to bake them. Thy cookies had a slight dome even after cooling. Hope that helps.

  6. I have started printing recipes and closing the tab on my IPad for my convenience. Consequently, for these cookies I had to go back and search so I could let you know my opinion of these cookies. Worth the effort to let you know these are absolutely the best! First batch is done, second and third batch (I doubled) are in the refrigerator. Really, these are truly wonderful! Thank you!

  7. I made these today for the first time to include with the cookie trays my sister & I make for family & friends after she tested the new recipes I used she declared these the BEST ones we made this year! These will definitely be going on future cookie trays…thanks Sally!!

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jeanne, We are so glad that you and your sister love these!

  8. Hi Sally! Could I substitute all-purpose flour for gluten-free flour? This recipe looks amazing, and I would love to make these cookies gluten-free friendly for my friend for the holidays:) Thanks so much.

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Vivie, We do not have much experience using gluten free flour. Although some readers report using an all purpose 1:1 gluten free flour in many of our recipes with success, you should expect slightly different results. Here are all of our naturally gluten free recipes. 

  9. These cookies taste so good! They are very easy to make but look and taste impressive!

  10. I usually never write reviews on recipes but this was so good that I just had to! I followed the recipe pretty much exactly, didn’t make any major changes and chilled for about 3 hours. I have never used peppermint extract before but it brought an amazing flavor! I will definitely be making again very soon!

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Poppy, we are so glad you loved these!

  11. I made these over the weekend, they are AMAZING! The icing is perfect not, not too sweet. I will be making another batch of these this holiday season!

  12. Lauren Hanson says:

    I love all of Sally’s fudgey cookies. These are perfect for the holiday season, I like that I can make the dough ahead. These also align in terms of the bake temperature and time of other holiday cookies from Sally. I appreciate this, so I can make many different kinds of cookies at once like a factory. In place of candy canes, I found peppermint sprinkles at the store.

  13. Hi Sally! What will happen if I don’t chill for the full 3 hours?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Maggie, Without the full chill time the dough will be very sticky and difficult to handle. Chilling dough also guarantees thicker cookies and without it the cookies will spread and be very thin.

  14. These cookies are great! I admit, I was a bit nervous about it before the dough was refrigerated. It was somewhere between a cookie dough and a brownie batter. But 12 hours in the fridge plus a few minutes in the freezer after being scooped produced cookies like the photo! They are really delicious. I omitted the peppermint in the cookie. I will say that I believe there is too much peppermint extract in the frosting as written. I recommend tasting after 1/4 tsp to see if you agree with me. I tasted it at 1/4 tsp, and I thought any more would be toothpastey. I love mint and chocolate together (mint chocolate chip is my favorite ice cream flavor) but peppermint extract is very potent! They looked really pretty with crushed candy canes on top and my 2 year old enjoyed crushing the candy canes 🙂

  15. Just made this recipe tonight and it was incredible!

  16. I made these for a cookie exchange and they certainly were the cookie of the night! I use this chocolate cookie recipe (from Sally’s cookie addiction) a lot! The addition of peppermint buttercream was divine! I too topped them with crushed peppermint nut added a little sliver of peppermint bark as well! Thanks for always having tried and true delicious recipes that NEVER fail!

  17. If I have had problems with overspreading cookies in the past, even after refrigerating them, weighing my ingredients, and softening the butter with the fool proof method (steam from the hot water in the microwave), would you recommend adding 2 tablespoons of additional flour?? I love your recipes but I have failed at each one with the butter. I’m just so frustrated and I am such a cookie LOVER.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amanda! Extra flour will always help, here’s more of our tips to keep cookies from spreading!

  18. Hi
    Made these to bring to work for a staff holiday lunch
    They were a hit overall. The cookie part is our chocolate cookie perfection
    I would just recommend going easy on the icing – if too thick it made them a bit to sweet.
    Also noticed the cookies I left at home un-iced in the fridge did not age well
    They are definitely best eaten with a day or two
    But that’s shouldn’t be a problem

  19. Made these last night (along with the PB blossom cookies!) Although it was a tough competition, all 3 of my kids and my husband voted this their favorite, and I understand why. I didn’t even have one with frosting and they were rich, soft, chocolatey with just enough mint to make them festive! Great addition to the tray : )

  20. The dough tasted good. I put the same amount of baking soda in that you used. But the cookies were really flat and didn’t cook as quickly as yours. When I took them out they tasted bitter.

  21. These are easy and so good! The cookie dough smelled just like thin mints. I sent most of them with my husband to work, but couldn’t resist keeping a few for myself!

  22. These were DELICIOUS!! I took them to work and people raved about them! Thanks for another great recipe, Sally!

  23. My cookies turned out pancake flat too. I even tried making the dough balls oval as suggested. I ended up using 3 different pans before I was done and one pan was puffed up more than the others so I’m thinking the pan really does make a difference! (I’ve asked for a new pan for Christmas as per your cookie tips page.) The flavor was spot on, so good! I’ve always liked buying the mint chocolate chips that come out this time of year but apparently I missed them 🙁 so these cookies are my new go to for peppermint and chocolate. My only real problem was that I made them 1 day ahead and the peppermint pieces “ran” in the icing. I guess maybe they got too warm? So they didn’t look the best when I delivered them to my friend but she loved them anyway! Thank you again for another great recipe.

  24. Can you make these without the chocolate chips in the dough?

    1. Absolutely. Just leave them out with no other changes to the recipe.

  25. Best cookies I made this year! Not super minty, which is a good thing in my book. Cookie has really nice texture.

  26. Excellent cookies. The chocolate cookies are delicious on their own, but the buttercream frosting really puts it over the top. Perfect for the holiday!

  27. I made these cookies for the first time the week of Christmas 2021, and my husband and I loved them. I think these cookies are going to be part of the regular holiday rotation moving forward! The only thing I wished was that the cookies had a little more chocolate flavor. Sally, what would be the best way to impart more chocolate flavor? More cocoa or chocolate chips? Any corresponding adjustments? Sorry, I’m just such a chocoholic!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Stacey! What about a chocolate peppermint frosting? You could use our chocolate buttercream recipe with added peppermint extract – let us know if you try it!

  28. I loved these! They were delicious! Though I think I liked them better without the frosting.

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